College launches weather balloon

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STUDENTS and staff at a college are celebrating after launching a weather balloon into the stratosphere as part of a global competition.

Armed with three Go-Pro cameras, a black box and seeds, the Chichester College Stem team, compromising staff and students from the science, technology, engineering and maths departments, launched a high-altitude weather balloon 
after receiving permission from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The mission was part of the Global Space Balloon Challenge, which awards prizes for highest altitude, best images, best videos and best team.

The balloon was released at 7am on Wednesday amid a crowd of staff and students who all had a hand in the project.

It was quickly taken a westerly by the wind, where it travelled for several hours across Hampshire towards Southampton and reached a height of more than 30,000m.

At one point the balloon was ascending at more than five metres per second.

On the ground, a team from the college found the balloon completely intact after it burst just north of the New Forest.

Andrew Chater, head of engineering at the college, said: ‘With all equipment intact and with the data already looking impressive I think we can safely say that we have had a 100 per cent success rate for the mission.

‘One of the best aspects of the event is that all departments within the Stem team have worked together, co-operated and talked.

It is something which the Stem agenda hopes to facilitate and, with the success of the event in mind, we are incredibly proud of the achievement.’